From the Cowboys and the Steelers of the 70s, to perhaps the greatest professional football team of all time in the 80s, the 49ers, throughout history there have been the existence of some truly great teams but perhaps none greater than DC’s greatest superhero team of all time, The Justice League. But what about the other greatest superhero teams you’ve never heard of? Below is a list of the top 10 greatest DC superhero teams you’ve never heard of from the late 1960s to the decade of my childhood, the 1980s. Enjoy.
10. The Wanderers
The Wanderers made their first appearance in Adventure Comics #375 in December of 1968. While they have been considered by many as a smaller version of the Legion of Super-Heroes, they actually started out as a group of villains. Led by Re-Animage, their group has consisted of several members including Dartalon, Elvar, Aviax, Psyche and the Quantum Queen. Their biggest storyline came when they were presumed dead after being killed by their arch nemesis’ mad wife, Clonus. But, after the dust had settled, we came to find out that they were cloned and were able to live on through their clone selves and even solve their own murders.
9. The Forever People
After appearing in February 1971 in the comic of their own name, the team held several adventures throughout New Genesis while traveling on a huge Super-Cycle that could fly, pass through objects and teleport.
Throughout the years members have included Mark Moonrider, who carries the Megaton Touch, which emits energy; Big Bear, who not only has a ferocious look but superhuman strength; Beautiful Dreamer, a pure knockout that can create illusions; Vykin the Black with his magnetic powers; and Serifan, who can create force fields and anti-gravity waves with his Cosmic Cartridges.
Among some of their greatest adventures include the time they found themselves stranded on the planet of Adon. And along the way, love found its way into connecting Beautiful Dreamer with not one but two members of the team, Big Bear and Mark Moonrider.
8. The Freedom Fighters
Although the Freedom Fighters may be a team you have never heard of, their leader is unquestionably someone you have, unless you are un-American. Uncle Sam, a DC version of the government figure created to instill the red, white and blue spirit in all of us, leads a ragtag group of superheroes including Hourman I, Magno, Red Torpedo and Miss America.
They made their first appearance in Justice League of America #107 in October of 1973 when Uncle Sam put the group together for a failed attempt at turning back the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the event that brought the U.S. into the second World War. Sadly, during the attack, not only were Red Torpedo and Hourman I captured, but Magno and another member, Neon The Unknown were killed.
7. All-Star Squadron
Don’t let the name fool you. The All-Star Squadron has had some of the biggest name in DC history, but the team itself is one you’ve probably never heard of. Over the years, members have included several Justice League members, such as Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Hawkgirl and Hawkman. But their longest standing and most associated members include Commander Steel, Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle.
They made their first appearance in Justice League of America #193 in August 1981, not to mention a more youthful incarnation that debuted in June 1987 in Young All-Stars #1. Among the younger version of the team were the atomic punching Dyna-Mite, the powerful Fury and the furry winged Flying Fox.
Although they have had many great adventures, one of the greatest stories ever told happened a little over a year after their debut. In a multi-issue arc that saw the All-Star Squadron team up with the Justice League of America to prevent the Squad’s arch nemesis, Per Degaton, from unleashing a nuclear nightmare and altering the course of history.
6. The Global Guardians
The Global Guardians have had some great stories written about them and their adventures, but their original claim to fame was becoming the first truly global super hero team. Debuting in June of 1982 in DC Comics Presents #46, their members have been from all over the world.
Most of their members debuted as stand alone super heroes nearly thirty years before joining together. When I say that this team was truly global, there really is no better way to describe them. Over the years, their members have been from Denmark, Ireland and Africa, just to name a few locales.
What has been most amazing, as comics tend to try and do, these global super heroes, some from opposing countries, have been able to put aside those differences and put Earth’s needs first. During the 80’s, as the Cold War was heating up, DC was able to successfully join together Owlman from the United States of America and Tundra from Mother Russia. Perhaps comics had a bigger part in ending the Cold War than we previously thought.
5. Young All-Stars
I touched on them a bit earlier, but they do truly deserve their own spot on this list. As previously mentioned, The Young All-Stars made their debut in June 1987 in issue #1 of Young All-Stars. Like The Global Guardians, The Young All-Stars also made history, by becoming the first teen super hero team.
Even though The Young All-Stars debuted in 1987, their timeline was set during World War II during 1942. Dan the Dyna-Mite, Fury 1, Flying Fox and Neptune Perkins are just a few of their members over the years. The team was originally assigned to simply sell war bonds during the Second Great War, but that changed quickly as they began fighting such villains as Per Degaton, Deathbolt and the Ultra-Humanite.
4. The Hero Hotline
The Hero Hotline is just exactly what it sounds like. While other super heroes are off fighting super villains like Lex Luthor or The Joker and are not available, all anyone needs to do to find a substitute superhero is simply dial 1-800-555-HERO. The Hero Hotline first debuted in Action Comics Weekly #637, in January of 1988.
Based out of New York City, the hero hotline includes such heroes as Diamondette, Hotshot, Microwave Mom, Mr. Muscle, Private Eye, Stretch, Voice-Over and 500Z-Q. The Hero Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and handles emergencies beyond the normal range.
The Hero Hotline was originally founded by Tex Thomson and has since been maintained by the mysterious Coordinator. After hours emergencies are handled by the more than capable night crew which includes Chlorino, Marie the Psychic Turtle, Rainbow Man, Thunderhead and Zeep the Living Sponge.
3. The Blasters
The Blasters made their debut back in 1988 in Invasion #1. During an alien invasion of Earth, scientists kidnapped 50 humans and forced them to walk through a minefield. The humans that were able to survive this event did so by manifesting latent metagene powers. Those that did survive formed a wandering superhero team that came to be known as The Blasters.
The group cruised the the galaxies, piloted by the attractive, feline humanoid alien known as Churljenins. The group which was led by Lucas “Snapper” Carr, also consisted of Dust Devil, Looking Glass, Crackpot, Jolt, Frag, Gunther and Mrs. Levy.
During one of their more famous missions, they were able to foil a plot by a criminal organization known as The Spider Guild as they were attempting to sell black market weapons on Earth. During a near fatal attempt to help fellow superhero Valor escape from being imprisoned, The Blasters decided to disband. Shortly after this, Lucas “Snapper” Carr, after being captured Khund thugs, had his hands cut off, which robbed him of his super power of teleportation. Although his hands have since been restored, the team has yet to join back together for any further adventures.
2. The Newsboy Legion
At this point, there have been a couple iterations of the young superhero team, known as The Newsboy Legion. The original Newsboy Legion first debuted in Star Spangled Comics #7 in April of 1942. That original team consisted of Anthony “Big Words” Rodriguez, John “Gabby” Gabrielli, Patrick “Snapper” MacGuire and Thomas “Tommy” Thompkins.
Interestingly enough, the second Newsboy Legion, which debuted in 1988 during Superman Annual 2nd Series #2, consisted of clones of all four original members of the original Newsboy Legion in addition to new members, Roberta “Famous Bobby” Harper and Walter “Flip” Johnson.
The Newsboy Legion members were adopted by police officer Jim Harper, as he hoped to help them avoid a hard knock life of living on the streets in Metropolis’s Suicide Slums. Throughout their adventures, The Newsboy Legion found themselves being rescued on more than one occasion by fellow super hero, The Guardian. The interesting part in that, is that The Guardian was none other than Jim Harper, the same man that had rescued the team from a life on the streets. He turned out to be their guardian in more than one way.
1. The Secret Six
The Secret Six first appeared in Action Comics Weekly #601 in May of 1988. The Secret Six were an undercover operative team consisting of LaDonna Jameal, Tony Mantegna, Mitch Hoberman, Dr. Maria Verdugo, Luke McKendrick and Vic Sommers.
The team spent most of their time fighting crime and defending democracy, ultimately serving a covert U.S. government group known as The Agency. After many successful missions, the team retired, but then several years later, rejoined in order to help train a new group of operatives. While on a flight, heading to their new training mission, the flight went down, as it was later learned to be sabotaged. Only one of the six survived.